lfb: daylight wasting or saving?

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The thing with Daylight Saving is, does it really give us an extra hour of daylight? I mean, me personally, I wake up at 8:30 or 9 year round, and generally it’s light out at that hour regardless of the time of year. Changing my clock forward an hour in the springtime basically just shorts me an hour of sleep. The thing I do notice is that in fall suddenly I’m driving home in the dark. Technically, it’s the period of time in the summertime that is referred to as daylight saving time. I guess the rest of the year is regular time?

Plus, I can never remember when daylight saving is. This year I was an hour early to pick up my son Sunday morning from his grandparents because I forgot about it. In the springtime, I’m late. It’s hard to get used to the time difference too, and usually takes me a couple of days to get used to the change.

This site says that the reason we do daylight saving time (the correct pronunciation is without the “s” in savings) is to conserve energy. As the days get shorter, we move our “awake hours” in order to maximize daylight, therefore using less energy.

As if daylight saving time (2:00 AM on the first Sunday of April and 2:00 AM on the last Sunday in October) wasn’t confusing enough, in 2007 the US will be going to a different schedule, (courtesy of our valorous President, George W.) which, by the way, is different than the rest of the world. Even within the US and its principalities, Hawaii, American Samoa, the Virgin Islands, Guam, Puerto Rico, and Arizona don’t participate in Daylight Saving time. So while Arizona is technically within the same time zone as I am, half the year they are an hour ahead of me. Try keeping that straight. They have their own time zone!

In 2007, the US will move to having daylight saving time on the second Sunday of March at 2:00 AM and at 2:00 AM on the first Sunday in November. Supposedly this will save us even more energy.

Here’s something else. According to the site I referenced earlier, bars and restaurants in states that require a close at 2:00 AM actually require them to stop serving alcohol at 1:59 AM. So it appears that technically, the bars are already supposed to have stopped serving alcohol by the time 2:00 AM rolls around. Whatever.

I couldn’t find any figures on this site that were hard numerical proof that daylight saving actually does conserve energy in a material way. Any savings in the morning are offset by extra energy use at night, and vice versa. It doesn’t seem to have much effect.

The bottom line is, there are a lot of countries that don’t even participate in it, and there are other countries on a different time schedule than we are. Ultimately, the only reason daylight saving seems to matter is that we are measuring time like it’s running out of style, afraid to miss any or let the tiniest shred get away from us. Is it working?

“I don’t really care how time is reckoned so long as there is some agreement about it, but I object to being told that I am saving daylight when my reason tells me that I am doing nothing of the kind. I even object to the implication that I am wasting something valuable if I stay in bed after the sun has risen. As an admirer of moonlight I resent the bossy insistence of those who want to reduce my time for enjoying it. At the back of the Daylight Saving scheme I detect the bony, blue-fingered hand of Puritanism, eager to push people into bed earlier, and get them up earlier, to make them healthy, wealthy and wise in spite of themselves.”
– Robertson Davies, The Diary of Samuel Marchbanks, 1947, XIX, Sunday.

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